As it didn’t look like Chris Chupik would be turning up after all, I finally went back to have a look at the comments at Sarah Hoyt‘s.
jaynsand (who comments here and at File770) had decided to question some of the objectionable statements abouts genocide and ethnic cleansing. That was quite brave but perhaps futile.
Then it gets weird. Sarah Hoyt confuses jaynsand with a regular commenter at Hoyt’s blog ‘Galaxy Jane’, Hoyt then brings up the ‘Fieldsy’ thing and then says about Galaxy Jane: “I think is Fieldsy wife in disguise”. Eventually, the actual ‘Galaxy Jane’ turns up wondering what is going on. I count FOUR levels of identity confusion there, one of which is based on nothing more than a slight resemblance between two usernames.
Now, I wouldn’t mention it but amid all this confusion (not to mention genocide apologism) I suspect we have all forgotten the original theme of Hoyt’s post. As a refresher I will quote the first line again:
‘I realized recently that I have a “hunger and thirst” for the truth.’
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I don’t own books that you could call coffee table books (also I prefer coffee in cups rather than tables) but this one has the glossiest paper and a cover that looks like it has been gift wrapped.
This is a book about Sangaku (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangaku) – a topic about which I knew nothing. Reading about it briefly for the first time, I had one of those ‘how did I not already know about this!’ moments. I also, coincidentally, had money to spend on books! So I bought this as a present to myself.
The concept is/was that geometry problems or solutions to problems as a temple offering. How delightful is that! It’s symbolic but also requires personal effort, so it has many aspects of a kind of ritual sacrifice or penance (to cast in Western religious terms) but also very meaningful in other ways.
The idea of mathematics as belonging primarily with the sciences and materialist domains is a relatively new one. Sangaku is just one example of how mathematics often intersects with spiritual aspect of human inquiry as well as aesthetic ones.
Hi Christopher. I see from your comment at Sarah Hoyt’s blog that you’ve seen my post and I can see that you have at least scrolled past the comments in question.
I’m genuinely interested in what you think of them. Feel free to comment to this post. I’ll ask others that comment here usually not to reply so that there won’t be a dogpile of comments.
[Dear regular readers – if Chris does reply, please don’t reply to his comment, so that he gets a chance to explain what he thinks is going on in those comments.]
Some caveats to start with:
- A comment section does not represent the views of the host of a blog in any consistent way. Some hosts are more lenient, some less so.
- Discussion can go to strange places and without context, an isolated comment may look quite different.
- People can speculate about the possible behaviour of others without necessarily endorsing that behaviour. For example, somebody might talk about the circumstances in which North Korea might use a nuclear weapon but expect readers to understand that this would be a bad thing that they don’t want to happen.
- People sometimes make dark jokes about terrible things.
- Sometimes translated comments or comments made in a second or unfamiliar language may not represent what a person is actually trying to say.
There are secondary ethical questions around each of these. I’ll let readers decide whether any of those apply in the situation I’m discussing.
After the fold, I’m going to discuss some comments on a blog I often look at somewhat adversarially. Before that, a content warning about what appears to be very disturbing comments aimed at Roma people – an ethnic minority in Europe (primarily) that is subjected to on-going racism and harassment as well as a long history of being subjected to violence and attempted extermination. The comments vary from what is apparent casual racism and stereotyping to extreme proposals including genocide.
Continue reading “How easily people talk themselves into proposing genocide”